WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at helping farmers whose markets have been hit by ongoing trade disruptions.
Producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.
“While there have been positive movements on the trade front, American farmers are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in making the announcement Dec. 17. “This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year.”
Perdue announced in July that USDA would aid farmers in response to trade damage from trade tariff retaliation.
Market Facilitation Program
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been administering the Market Facilitation Program to provide the first payments to almond, corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, fresh sweet cherry, and wheat producers since September 2018 for the first 50 percent of their 2018 production.
Producers need sign up only once for the MFP to be eligible for the first and second payments. The MFP sign-up period opened in September and runs through Jan. 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp.
Producers must complete an application by Jan. 15, 2019, but have until May 1, 2019, to certify their 2018 production. Payments will be issued once production is reported.
For farmers who have already applied, completed harvest, and certified their 2018 production, a second payment will be issued on the remaining 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for the specific commodity.
MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity. Payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers, and a combined $125,000 for fresh sweet cherry and almond producers.
Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.
For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit www.farmers.gov.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is administering a food purchase and distribution program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities targeted by retaliation.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is distributing these commodities through nutrition assistance programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs. So far, USDA has procured some portion of 16 of the 29 commodities included in the program, totaling more than 4,500 truckloads of food.
The AMS will continue purchasing commodities for delivery throughout 2019.
Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion program, $200 million is being made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.
The application period closed in November with more than $600 million in requested activities from more than 70 organizations. The awards will be announced in early January.
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